All businesses use energy, and this can make up a substantial portion of some businesses’ costs each month.
There are many things you can do to reduce energy consumption within your business and implementing energy saving initiatives can result in a reduction of ongoing costs with minimal investment.
Set clear energy saving goals
Before you look for ways to save energy, you first need to understand how your business is using it. Assess your current energy usage and review how much you’re spending on energy. It may be more or less than you thought, but this can help you work out what your starting costs look like.
Set clear goals for your business and identify target focus areas where you could improve energy consumption. This will vary for each business depending on your needs, current energy usage and budget. It may involve implementing simple energy efficient practices or investing in renewable energy.
When assessing your business energy usage and looking for areas you can save, make sure you have ways to measure your progress. This could be reducing your energy bills by a set amount each month, or replacing all old office equipment and appliances with energy efficient models.
Identify key areas of energy waste
Areas of energy waste can differ for various businesses depending on your operations.
There are numerous systems and pieces of equipment that use up energy within your business, so it’s good to identify the areas where you’re using excessive amounts that could be reduced. This may be through lighting, computers and office equipment, heating and cooling, or refrigeration.
Once you understand the main areas where your business is wasting energy, you can develop more streamlined plans to improve efficiency, or invest in the solutions that will have the most beneficial impact on your energy savings.
Check for leaks or drafts
Energy can easily be lost through gaps and leaks in doorways and windows, resulting in businesses using more energy to heat and cool areas.
Check all windows and doorways in your office for any leaks or small drafts that may be leaking air, as even small drafts can result in significant energy loss.
Ensure proper sealing and plug leaks with weather stripping and caulking to efficiently manage ventilation. Properly sealed doors and windows will help keep your workplace cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
As well as proper sealing, installing quality curtains and blinds can help with retaining heat in winter, or keeping a work environment cool, and may help you minimise heating and cooling system usage. But also remember, that passive heating on cold sunny days can also reduce your need to warm a sunny room in winter.
Consider your hot water systems
Heating water can significantly impact your electricity bill, though it is often overlooked when considering your energy usage.
Get your boiler and heating system serviced regularly for optimum efficiency. Ensure correct insulation around the boiler and along pipe work to keep heat in, and check for leaking water pipes and dripping taps to make sure this is not an area where you are wasting energy. If possible, install an “on-demand” boiler. These heat water only when required, minimising wasted energy.
Set the thermostat so that it is not set too hot and using more energy than is necessary. If you have a thermostat controlled water heater, consider putting it on a timer, to ensure you are not heating water when your business is closed.
Ensure you have the right size water system for your premises and choose an energy efficient model, though, this may depend on whether you own the building or are simply renting a small office space within a commercial building.
Conduct regular maintenance
The better condition your office equipment is in, the more efficiently it will run, which can result in cost savings.
This includes everything from monitors and printers, heating and cooling systems to refrigeration and office appliances. Heating and cooling systems, and large or walk-in refrigerators should get serviced at least once a year, as well as be properly cleaned on a regular basis.
Regular maintenance will also help increase longevity of your equipment and systems, though keep in mind the older they get, the less efficient they will become. When it does come time to replace equipment, appliances and systems, invest in more energy efficient replacements to help reduce your energy costs in the long term.
Energy efficiency tax incentives
More and more businesses are being encouraged to invest in sustainable energy, with tax incentives and rebates for energy savings measures available in various states and territories.
Do your own research into the incentives available for businesses who buy energy efficient appliances, or install solar energy systems. For more information visit the Victorian Energy Saver and Energy Saver NSW websites.
Tax incentives may help your business save a good amount of money, and investing in energy efficient things has the added benefit of providing a good return on investment in the long term.
For more energy saving tips, check out our blog on quick ways to reduce your energy usage.